Israel is in the public eye more than any other nation or topic… in the universe. Some people fanatically hate Israel. Some people fanatically love Israel. Personally, I live in Israel so I probably identify a little with both.
Inevitably people thinking about visiting Israel ask, “But is it safe?” The answer is yes and so I tell them, “Yes, Israel is safe.” But they rightfully distrust my response since I work for Sar-El Tours & Conferences, a Jerusalem-based tour agency specializing in Christian and Jewish Roots tours to Israel. So how do I overcome the natural skepticism of an American, Asian, or European thinking of a trip to Israel? I have to destroy the foundations of their mistrust by going to the root of their misconception – Media.
Media plays a huge role in shaping opinion in today’s world. They say late President Franklin Roosevelt could never have been elected today because he was confined to a wheelchair and he would have failed on television with his “weak appearance.” Also think of how world opinion shunned Howard Dean after his rant was caught on video. Every social network exploded with his terrifying scream. Today one misstep can lead to your downfall. Imagine if every action you took was scrutinized by another and broadcast to the whole world. Why didn’t you give money to that homeless person? Why didn’t you yield to traffic at that on-ramp to the highway? Why did you talk to your spouse that way when the cameras barged in on your argument last night?
Now imagine the media isn’t after you as an individual but as a nation. For whatever reason they’ve decided to report every flaw and weakness your nation has. There would be enough material to fill 10 T.V. channels 24/7 – Crime in the cities, poor education for some segment of society, crushed dreams for some poor soul with a compelling story, etc. No nation can withstand that level of scrutiny and yet, the mainstream media has for some reason decided that Israel, 2 percent of the Middle East, deserves just that.
Associate Press had 40 full-time staffers in Israel when the “Arab Spring” erupted. That is more staffers than they had in all of China. That is more staffers than they had in all of Russia or India. That is more than the had in all of the 50-sub Saharan African countries… combined! It was even higher than the total news-gathering employees in ALL the countries of the “Arab Spring.” (source: http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/183033/israel-insider-guide)
So when you ask me if Israel is safe, I have to know… did you hear something in the news? Was something… “violent” reported? The next step to answer their questions is to hit them with cold hard facts and statistics. That is the subject for my next blog… stay tuned.